I need to be doing something else, besides sitting in my office. Or cleaning. Or worrying.
Then I rememberd Laurie Colwin's two collections of writings on food from her Gourmet column. I had a subscription to that magazine when these were coming out, and it was a treat to read them every month; her writing was so immediate and conversational, and it seemed that she and I shared similar ideas. She even bought the same Bread Alone bread I was then buying—and the same Walnut Acres staples! Then her first book, Home Cooking, came out and I got it in hardback.
She was only 48 when she died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Unbelievable; she wrote so lovingly about her young daughter and all the treats she made for her and with her. Her short stories and novels are always the ones I return to when I can't think of what else to read.
So today I made a chocolate cake from More Home Cooking, her friend Karen Edwards's version of buttermilk cocoa cake. And I used up the last of my buttermilk . . .
Here it is:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan.
2. Mix together 1-3/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. To these ingredients add 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter, and 2 teaspons vanilla.
4. Turn the batter into the pan, bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and let it cool for 5 minutes before turning it out of the pan.